The number of rural resources discussed in this report along with the wide variety of possible preservation solutions presented might suggest that rural preservation is a daunting task. Certainly, it will not be an easy process, but if Charlotte - Mecklenburg is to retain any of its historic rural resources and historic character it is imperative that the process of rural preservation begin now. Choices must be made now about what is worth preserving. The properties listed in this report are some of the best rural resources existing in Mecklenburg County. They maintain a good measure of their integrity; they preserve the historic rural character of Mecklenburg County; and they represent a summary of Mecklenburg's historic rural development.
The Charlotte - Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission's Survey and Projects Committees have already taken the initial steps necessary to give the Commission a focus on rural preservation this year. It is hoped that the outcome of this effort will be a greater public awareness of the issues of rural preservation and a public interest in demanding high quality, historically sensitive development that will be good both for the development industry and the greater community.
The history of Mecklenburg County is not just the history of Charlotte. The multitude of small farmers who worked and lived in rural Mecklenburg were an important part of the growth of the city and its surrounding small towns. Their history is preserved through the inventory of rural farmsteads, churches, stores, and other resources. The greatest value of history is in enabling us to understand how we got to the present point. Where we go from here is dependent on our understanding of past mistakes and successes. Our history is part of our sense of place, our character. Once lost, it is irreplaceable. The citizens and business people of Mecklenburg County must ask, Are we driving our growth or is it driving us?
Arendt, Randall. Open Space Design Guidebook: Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine Region.
Raleigh: North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, 1996.
Glassie, Henry. Pattern in the Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United
States.Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968.
Historic Preservation Element, Orange County Comprehensive Plan. Hillsborough: Orange County Historic Preservation Commission and Orange County Planning Dept., 1996.
Historic Properties In Charlotte - Mecklenburg,Vol. I. Charlotte: Charlotte - Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1988.
Johnson, Dexter W. Information Booklet, 46: Using Old Farm Buildings. Washington:
National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1989.
Mastran, Shelley S. Information Booklet, 77: Rural Conservation. Washington: National
Trust for Historic Preservation, 1993.
Noble, Allen G. and Richard K. Cleek. The Old Barn Book. New Brunswick: Rutgers
University Press, 1995.
Phillips, Steven J. Old House Dictionary. Washington: Preservation Press, 1994.
Stokes, Samuel N., et. al. Saving America's Countryside. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1989.
The Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with
Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes.Washington: National Park Service, 1996.
Watson, Elizabeth and Stefan Nagel. Preservation Information Booklet: Establishing an
Easement Program to Protect Historic, Scenic, and Natural Resources. Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995.
Wright, Christina and Dr. Dan L. Morrill. Charlotte - Mecklenburg Historic Tours, Driving and Walking. Charlotte: Charlotte - Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Fund, Inc.,
1This section was compiled from Thomas W. Hanchett, Charlotte and Its Neighborhoods, Charlotte: Urban Institute of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1986 and Richard Mattson, National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form for "Historic and Architectural Resources of Rural Mecklenburg County, North Carolina," on file at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1990.
2This section was compiled from Shelley S. Mastran, Information Booklet No. 77, Rural Conservation, Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1993; Elizabeth Watson and Stefan Nagel, Information Booklet, Establishing an Easement Program to Protect Historic, Scenic, and Natural Resources, Washington: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995;and Samuel N. Stokes, et al., Saving America's Countryside, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
3Randall Arendt, Open Space Design Guidebook, Albemarle - Pamlico Estuarine Region, Raleigh: North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, 1996 and Orange County Planning Department, Historic Preservation Element, Orange County Comprehensive Plan, Hillsborough: Orange County Historic Preservation Commission and Orange County Planning Department, 1996.
Understanding that surveying historic resources is a process, the authors continued to locate historic rural resources as the main body of this report was nearing completion. The following properties primarily represent resources that have been engulfed by urban or suburban development. Likewise, this addendum still does not complete the inventory of significant rural resources. Further research on those properties already identified and future work will doubtless expand our understanding of Mecklenburg County's rural past.
Additional Historical Summaries of Mecklenburg County Rural Resources
N. S. Alexander House (MK 1768), Shamrock Rd.Built for Neal Somers Alexander, a prominent farmer in the Crab Orchard community, the Queen Anne style house was constructed in 1903. It was the seat of Alexander's 1000 acre cotton farm. Several outbuildings, including dwellings for the tenant families who worked the far, once existed on the property. The property is a local historic landmark.
Pharr Alexander- Morrocroft Manager's House (MK 1723), Sharon Lane. This Folk Victorian house was constructed in 1903 and was the residence of Pharr Alexander in 1911. Fishscale shingles in the cross gable, a round window, and the Eastlake vergeboard are a few of the Queen Anne-inspired decorative details on this house. The manager for Governor Morrison's estate lived in this house during the 1930s and 1940s.
Caldwell Rosenwald School (MK 1461), Highway 73. Constructed with money from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, this 1924-25 schoolhouse is a good example of its type. All Rosenwald Schools were one story buildings with side gable or hipped roofs and having large windows. The four room Caldwell School actually has a variation on this theme with its front gable roof and central interior chimney. It is being adaptively reused as a carpet showroom and is surrounded by modern buildings associated with that business.
W. J. Craig House (MK 1727), Sharon Amity Road. Although not the original owner, W. J. Craig resided in this farmhouse during the early twentieth century. The builder of the house may have been a Mr. Brown. The house was constructed in the early twentieth century and is a good example of the sort of transitional dwelling built during this time. It displays both Queen Anne or Folk Victorian motifs along with the more restrained mode of the Colonial Revival.
Henderson-King House, Stafford Circle. Built in 1902, the house is in the Folk Victorian style. The unusual feature of this house is that its architecture is more representative of urban design than that of a farmhouse. There are no longer any outbuildings associated with the property. The original owner was either Elizabeth Myers or Ammie Henderson. Both families were prominent Mecklenburg County citizens. It is currently on the study list of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
Newell Rosenwald School (MK 1278), Torrence Grove Road. Although somewhat deteriorated presently, this school is a remarkably well-preserved example of the Rosenwald type. Built in 1928-29, this four room school served the Newell/Crab Orchard Township. It was affiliated with the Torrence Grove A. M. E. Zion Church.
Morrocroft, Richardson Drive. Completed in 1927 for Governor Cameron Morrison (the "Good Roads Governor") this estate was to be a model farm. Illustrating the most advanced agricultural principles, the estate was a product of Morrison's New South principles and the general trend toward modern technological education during the 1920s and 1930s. Turkeys, chickens, hogs, and jersey cattle were raised on the farm. The manor house is in the Tudor Revival style and was designed by New York architect Harrie Thomas Lindberg. Portions of the estate were developed into the South Park shoppin center, Cotswald, etc. during the 1950s.